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Jun 15, 2010 5:28 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Developer pitches casino in Calverton industrial park

Jun 15, 2010 5:28 PM

A private developer suggested that the Shinnecock Indian Nation build its proposed casino at the Enterprise Park at Calverton during a meeting of the Suffolk County Gaming Task Force last week.

The developer, Jan Burman, president of Engel Burman Group in Garden City, said the site of the former Northrop Grumman testing facility would be an ideal spot for a casino because it is buffered from residential neighborhoods. Mr. Burman’s company owns 95 acres of vacant land at the site.

“There’s no one there that will really be bothered by your use,” Mr. Burman told representatives of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and Suffolk County at the meeting, which was held last Thursday, June 10, in Hauppauge.

Mr. Burman was one of two private developers originally scheduled to make separate pitches to the task force last week, explaining why they should be allowed to build the casino once the Shinnecocks secure federal recognition—which happened days later on Tuesday, June 15.

A representative for Blumenfeld Development Group of Syosset canceled an appearance shortly before last Thursday’s meeting, according to Brian Galgano, a spokesman for Suffolk County Legislator Wayne Horsley. Mr. Galgano said the company was going to suggest that the casino be built on the former Bellport Outlet property off Sunrise Highway. He did not know why the representative canceled.

Brad Blumenfeld, vice president of Blumenfeld Development Group, did not return a call this week.

Because Mr. Burman was the only developer to make a pitch, his Calverton property will likely be the only privately owned site listed in an upcoming advisory report that will be completed by the Suffolk County Gaming Task Force, according to Mr. Galgano. The report is expected to be submitted to the Suffolk County Legislature later this summer, Mr. Galgano said. Mr. Horsley sponsored the legislation to create the task force.

Still, nothing is stopping other developers from approaching the Shinnecock Indian Nation on their own, without using the task force as an intermediary, Mr. Galgano pointed out.

The task force originally invited 12 developers to make pitches at last week’s meeting, according to Mr. Horsley.

The Enterprise Park at Calverton, more commonly known as EPCAL, includes some 2,900 acres of land that sits between Route 25 to the north and Grumman Boulevard to the south. The 95 acres owned by the Engel Burman Group is located in the middle of the industrial park, and is zoned to allow more than a million square feet of development, Mr. Burman said.

After last week’s meeting, Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs, who sits on the task force, said Mr. Burman made a “fine presentation” and the biggest potential benefit of the EPCAL site would be its readiness for development. Utilities and infrastructure are already in place at the site, Mr. Burman said.

Mr. Gumbs also said the site is attractive because it does not abut any residential areas.

“We’re interested in obviously going someplace where we’re wanted,” Mr. Gumbs said after the meeting. “We’re obviously concerned with public sentiment and everything like that.”

The site is buffered from residences by thousands of acres of public land, farmland, Calverton National Cemetery and Calverton Links golf course, Mr. Burman said.

But Mr. Gumbs said he was concerned there might not be enough road access to the property. Mr. Burman said the site sits two miles from the Long Island Expressway, and there is land available for a possible off-ramp leading directly to EPCAL.

After the meeting, Mr. Gumbs declined to comment on other locations that the tribe is considering. “We have looked at a number of sites, but I won’t go into any specific details on that,” he said.

Mr. Gumbs also said it is unclear how long it will take for a casino to materialize.

“There’s still a lot that needs to be done, so to put any kind of a time frame on it would just be unrealistic,” he said.

A company called Riverhead Resorts purchased a 750-acre chunk of the 2,900-acre EPCAL site from Riverhead Town in 2008, and is proposing to build an elaborate complex of eight destination spots, including a 350-foot-tall indoor ski mountain and a water park.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said he opposes the plan to open a casino in Calverton, though other members of the Riverhead Town Board support it. He said that a casino, which will likely be exempt from property taxes, will come at a “huge social cost” for town residents.

“If we’re not getting something in the form of huge payments, my opinion is that the social costs are going to be great,” He said.

Still, Mr. Walter noted that the Shinnecock Indian Nation will likely not need Riverhead Town approval to build a casino on the EPCAL site.

Ray Donnelly, the former Brookhaven Town economic development chief who now chairs the Suffolk County Gaming Task Force, also declined to say what other sites are under consideration.

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the environmentalists will kill or bog this site down FOREVER. the bellport site is better suited. buildings roads and major highway are in place. even the three amigos ( lavalle, thiele, and bishop) who say nay to everything that comes their way would go for the bellport site. it would save them answering questions from the southampton crowd. CASINO! FULL-SPEED AHEAD.
By uncleronk (136), southold on Jun 10, 10 3:22 PM
gambling is a sickness that destroys lives and families
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Jun 10, 10 5:35 PM
So is alcoholism and cigarette smoking, don't see you protesting those!
By eastendgolf (28), Manorville on Jun 12, 10 2:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good points, they both destroy lives and families. Yet the majority of gambling does not destroy lives and family, those are only the most extreme cases. There are plenty of people who enjoy recreational or even professional gambling with no problem what so ever. I don't gamble myself, but I certainly don't condemn those who do, as if I am some how better than them, because I don't chose to do it.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 13, 10 8:11 AM
I think Calverton would be an ideal location. Uncleronk : Calverton is in Riverhead township , not Southampton.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jun 10, 10 6:24 PM
Developers can't figure out how to set up the road for Schmidt's and the new Southampton Post Office.....Does anyone really believe this won't turn out to be a HUGH Mistake for all business and tourism out here on the East End of LI>?!
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 11, 10 5:06 AM
...and...Don't tell me it will bring in new jobs...it will ruin old ones and create tax burden for new roads to be built just for the casino and be a personal change of quality of life for those who have lived and worked here for generations....You can try to fool yourselves and those new to the area...but it has always been local citizens that have kept this land preserved for future generations...keep Manhattan in the city! If you want club/casino night life ...stay in the city. Please leave ...more
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 11, 10 5:15 AM
Interesting sob story, unfortunately it's not accurate. I grew up near the Turning Stone Casino in Central NY and it has been nothing but a godsend for the local communiites and its citizens. Millions of dollars have gone to the local school districts and municipalities. They structured their business plan so that they are completely sefl suffiicient with DPW crews, weights & measures (they sell tax free gas) and they even have their own police force. There is no burden to the community.

Take ...more
By eastendgolf (28), Manorville on Jun 12, 10 2:25 PM
You should do everything possible to place the casino there. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun contribute upwards of 450 million dollars to the sate of Connecticut in the form of taxes with alot of that money coming from Long Island gamblers. That money if placed here could reduce our school taxes dramtically if channeled directly into the municipalities and help offset thin budgets. The Grumman site is totally perfect, sparsely populated, good infrastructure. It would be a huge mistake to let Nassau County ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jun 11, 10 6:49 AM
I agree. There are hundreds of acres that are sitting idle, generating very little revenue by comparison. I'd probably even apply for a job in IT with them.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 17, 10 12:46 PM
No need to complain about all the bad that come with casinos......we all know what they are. There are good things as well. Its coming regardless of anyone's opinion. We might as well keep it in the area and there is no better site than Calverton. Infrastructure, space, buffer, access. Its a no-brainer.
By YEAROUNDER (81), East Hampton on Jun 11, 10 1:45 PM
Bring it on!
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Jun 11, 10 1:54 PM
The Town of Riverhead will never allow such a money maker within its jurisdiction. They would rather have vacant buildings on Main St and allow big, corporate businesses to come in to ruin the mom & pop stores.
By eastendgolf (28), Manorville on Jun 11, 10 8:58 PM
I still think Gabreski is a better location and so does a triable member I know
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jun 11, 10 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Logistically poor. Especially for ferry traffic from Port Jeff, and Orient.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 17, 10 12:40 PM
if it cuts my taxes drastically then im all for it...its far enough away from SHT to not have an affect on us.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 12, 10 2:49 PM
Eastendgolf, Your first comment "so is alcoholism and cigarette smoking" was just stupid. I was sitting here trying to make some sense of your thought and I realized it didn't even warrant a comment. But I couldn't resist....
Just because fcmcmann didn't "complain" about all bad things they can't make a statement about gambling?
I think fcmc hit the nail on the head.
By private (27), sag harbor on Jun 12, 10 7:00 PM
See my reply above, as you are looking at the worst case scenarios. Yes, he should have worded it "so does" if you couldn't work your way through that then there is little hope for you.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 13, 10 8:14 AM
So then "private" (very orginal btw) my statement is false? If you are saying no to a casino because you believe gambling is a sickness and ruins lives, then you need to take your fight to the convenience stores, bars and anywhere else that sells alcohol and tobacco, as they destroy lives as well.

I never said they "can't make a statement about gambling" was just trying to help them realize that a blanket statement like that is too broad.

By eastendgolf (28), Manorville on Jun 13, 10 11:31 AM
The Shinnecock know that an attempt to locate a casino at Gabreski Airport or anywhere else in Southampton Town will meet with overwhelming, well-funded, sophisticated opposition. They fully understand that it would be foolish to pursue a Southampton site, confronting that storm of protest, when there many other places that want the casino and will do all they can to attract it. Presumably, the tribe doesn't want to locate the facility so far west that the commute would be too long for them, but ...more
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jun 13, 10 4:34 PM
The Shinnecocks can have multiple casinos in multiple locations.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Jun 13, 10 10:47 PM
No to Gabreski. Go West. Calverton, maybe.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 14, 10 11:01 AM
... once the "tribe" get past the commute and arrive at the casino - then what do they do?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Jun 14, 10 11:32 AM
Calverton is too far away-it should be in Hampton Bays or at Southampton College
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 14, 10 12:05 PM
The location should involve a minimum of pavement, maximum natural vegetation, and good rail connections from NYC. Emphasis on art & music would be nice too, along with whatever ideology or traditions the tribe wants to promote. It would be great if it weren't all fake and plastic and ghastly.
By chelydra99 (4), London on Jun 16, 10 2:21 PM
Logistically, Calverton would probably be the best site. Space is already wide open, Expressway access would be a near non-issue, and the only thing I can think of to make it sweeter would be a spur, or something similar to the Kennedy Airport Shuttle. The tracks run right past the runway, north of Mill Rd. on the Yaphank Line.
The Calverton site could mean increased traffic on River Rd., or Edwards Ave. if there are those looking for a "shortcut", but traffic could be kept on 25 if people ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 17, 10 12:35 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Bangkok Apartments (1), Bangkok on Jan 9, 12 11:31 AM
I assume this blog is a knowledgeable container. It carries some informative data about a private developer who has suggested a company to build a casino at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
By Bangkok Apartments (1), Bangkok on Jan 12, 12 12:17 PM
The tribe will put up as many casinos as it get permits for. Why would it not? The first one will be where local support is greatest and public opposition muted. But others will follow. The lure of those mega-tax-bucks from a facility that puts NO additional demands on the local public schools will be too great. Ditto the jobs in depressed economies. Calverton has a shot as does Grabeski but Belmont will be first.

That being said, how long will the government continue to enforce "blue ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jan 12, 12 12:49 PM